A new report that evaluated the initiatives, approach, challenges and actions organizations are taking to improve their CSR performance found that CSR is no longer a “trade-off” but is now considered good for business.
The Seize the CSR Opportunity study, from Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Ivalua, reveals that, while the top benefits realized are qualitative — such as improved supplier relationships and brand image — 69% said their organizations realized increased sales as a result of CSR initiatives.
Respondents said the most effective strategies they have implemented involve empowering suppliers by setting clear targets, giving more flexibility in how targets are met, and offering them digital collaboration tools.
But the inability to effectively assess individual supplier CSR performance, and to accurately measure their own supply chain performance, is holding companies back. Another challenge is a lack of systems in place to enable effective, scalable collaboration.
The most important area in terms of overall sustainability among organizations was corporate policies that benefit the environment and preventing bribery and corruption, with 30% of respondents scoring them as “very important with official defined policies and/or defined targets.” Next up was reducing carbon emission/carbon footprint (26%), followed by ensuring supply chain fair labor practices and supporting local businesses (25% each).
Transparency remains a key to strong CSR efforts. “A company’s approach to moral, social, and environmental values is a component for success,” the report states. “Both consumers and employees look for alignment between business values and their own beliefs.” This notion reinforces the need for transparency on sustainability efforts (39% of respondents) and clear communication and a defined set of corporate values integrated into the organization’s brand and strategy (37%).
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